Blues centre Rene Ranger will miss the rest of the season after he suffered an ACL tear during his side’s 23-18 win over the Sharks in Auckland on Saturday.
Ranger was replaced by George Moala in the 32nd minute of the match after he went down awkwardly in a tackle.
He underwent further scans on his knee on Sunday which revealed the extent of the damage.
The injury is a huge setback for the 29-year-old All Black, who was still settling in at the Blues after rejoining them from Top 14 outfit Montpellier.
Ranger also underwent neck surgery earlier this year and Blues head coach Tana Umaga said it would be difficult to replace him.
Moala and Japan centre Male Sa’u, who hasn’t played since the Blues’ draw with the Reds in Round Four, are the favourites to fill Ranger’s place in the two-time champions’ midfield.
“We’ve got enough players to cover him but it’s obviously not ideal to lose Rene,” said Umaga.